Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

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RANDOM HOUSE, 2020 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
A mind-bending journey into the hidden world of fungi that will change your understanding of life on earth

"A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book . . . I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world--the secrets of which modern science is only now beginning to fathom."--Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland

When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.

In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web," to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.

Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms--and our relationships with them--are changing our understanding of how life works.

Advance praise for Entangled Life

"I was completely unprepared for Sheldrake's book. It rolled me over like a tsunami, leaving the landscape rearranged but all the more beautiful."--Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the London School of Economics and author of A History of the Mind and Soul Dust

"Fungi are fascinating! Elegant life strategies meet with delicate omnipresence, driving global ecosystems. Sheldrake's book informs and offers new concepts. Looking through Sheldrake's lens, fungal biology integrates with art, philosophy, and human society. His voice is real and personal. His book educates and entertains."--Uta Paszkowski, professor of plant molecular genetics, University of Cambridge
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breic - LibraryThing

Lots of drawn-out writing, especially about anthropomorphization and linguistic issues. Not so much science. Do we have the wrong metaphors for fungi and plants? I couldn't care less. It is easy to ... Read full review

Entangled Life

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Scientist Sheldrake debuts with a revelatory look at fungi that proves their relevance to humans goes far beyond their uses in cooking. While fungi lack brains, they can process and share complicated ... Read full review

Contents

what is it like to be A Fungus?
3
A LURE
25
Living LABYrinths
45
the intimacy of strangers
70
MYcelial minds 9 4
94
BEFore Roots
123
wood wide webs
149
RADICAL MYCOLOGY
175
MAKING sense Of FUNGI
202
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from the University of Cambridge for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book.

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